CHENNAI: Celebrated Indian artist Atul Dodiya is making the most of the lockdown, just like the rest of us. Atul, one of the most sought after contemporary artists in the country, believes that the lockdown is the best excuse to be a recluse. For the recent edition of the Indulge Time Pass webinar, which engages some of the best minds of the country to help us keep up with the new normal, the artist tells host Kaveree Bamzai that for the first two and a half months of the quarantine, he focused on spending time with his family and rewatching some cinematic masterpieces made by Andrei Tarkovsky, Michelangelo Antonioni and Francois Truffaut.
Atul’s wife Anju is an acclaimed abstract artist, and their daughter, Biraaj, showcased her debut solo show in Kolkata earlier this year. He is not perturbed by the current lack of professional commitments to galleries, he said, adding that he now has the time to work in solace in his studio. The pastoral quality in his work, he shared, has always been about unravelling the sense of solitude, which we are all experiencing now. “Most of my work has been about a solitary figure looking out at a cloud, sky or mountains.
Somehow, nature also talks about us being stuck, like we all are confined to our homes now, how we see the world through a window. I have been a great admirer of Indian miniature paintings and pre-Renaissance masters, so my work has always been somewhat pastoral, they don’t look very contemporary,” he explained. Art, emphasised Atul, can never be divorced from society. So will the global crisis bring about a change in the means of individual expression? “Everyone is equal in this context because everyone is scared, but this time is also about introspection. You can’t go out, you can’t do your daily duties, you have to stay in. Then again, tomorrow if there’s a vaccine, things may get back to normal, so it’s difficult to predict at this point,” he remarked.